Carnival Fantasy Cruise Review by superdebby: Cruising is not for everyone.
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Cruising is not for everyone.
Some people are cruisers and some people are not. I found out that I am not, so this review may sound very negative. My mother wanted a family cruise and paid for our cruise and the tips that are included. There was also a $150 room credit that we got to use due to a promotion, so it didn’t seem like it would be a big expense and it was only for 5 days. But we like to use our vacation time very differently. Thanks mom, but never again.
Embarkation - very long winding process - the very first line ride you get to enjoy on the cruise. I understand this is mostly a Charleston, SC, issue with boarding the Fantasy. Other ports may not be as bad.
Rooms on the Fantasy - We were in E-121. Our room steward was super nice and got us an ice bucket and took care of us. I don't blame him for our room flooding on the last night. Toilet was fine when we went to sleep and then around 3am my husband got up to use the bathroom and stepped into water. Water that was shooting out More of the toilet like it was continuously flushing and had been for quite some time because the bathroom is a step up with a lip to keep the shower water from entering the main room and it had overflowed from there. It had also flooded into the main hallway and into neighbor's room. These toilets are not quiet either, so whatever it was doing, was not the normal flushing or we would have heard it. For sanity's sake, I am telling myself that it was the non-potable flushing water and not something else. Otherwise, the rooms are plenty big for 2 people and there's enough storage space and the beds sleep well. The AC for the room is just turning a fan dial on the ceiling. Turned the whole way open, it didn’t really cool the room that much. Found that keeping the curtains pulled during the day kept the room cooler than otherwise.
People - there are 2000 passengers and 1000 staff on the boat. That is too many people for me and even if I knew and liked 3000 people, I do not want to be stuck that close with them. A lot of them were children. I like adult only vacations and should stick to that.
Lines - there are lines for everything and if the lines aren't enough for you, there's line dancing. I personally hate line dancing and hate that they ruin so many songs with line dancing. Just be prepared for tons of line dancing and hearing the same songs over and over. Went to the disco one night and then they started line dancing and I had to get out of there quick!
Dining/Shows - We had early seating in Jubilee. Mom wanted the early seating so we could go to the shows. I don't usually eat that early and that time doesn't work for me. I also didn't go to the shows as they didn't really appeal to me (Motor City and The Brits). I hung out at the bars and listened to the band (Dat Band) and one night caught the comedian. Other attempts to see the comedians didn't work out - get there at least 30 minutes ahead of the show to get a seat. The dining rooms squeeze in as many people as possible, so you're smushed in pretty tight. The wait staff does work hard, but their goal is to get you in, served and out so they can do the next seating. This means they don't take drink orders and sometimes forget the extra requests. With so much coming out of the kitchen at once, at times it is no longer hot. Perhaps the FreeStyle dining would have been a better option. We did bring a bottle of wine each night to our table and the waiter opened it and poured it. No one in my party got the corking fees for that. Meals outside the dining room required you stand in long lines. Dining options are not the best and some buffets are closed at weird times (just when you decide you need a salad, you go in and find the salad bar is closed). The lines for burgers, pizza and deli were really long and should be expanded or additionally staffed. My husband found it easier to go to the room, and order room service sandwiches there versus standing in the deli line with the masses. My nephew noticed that the hot buffet was the same menu as the previous night’s dinner menu…leftovers? Desserts in the dining room were very good. I didn't try the buffet desserts. Be advised that the waiters do a “Singing/Dancing Waiter” routine each night. We dreaded it; mom would get excited. It was basically a line dance song.
Activities – the waterpark looked entertaining for kids. I considered the water slide, but never did it. In port, the area around the water park got very buggy and these little bugs were all over the hand rail and sticking to your arms and head. Maybe the bugs were there the whole time and I only noticed it in port. The ship’s “tail” or vent stack basically puts out steam/drizzle/spray right over the water park. Depending on what is in this steam could have contributed to the bugs (if it was cooking generated steam), I’m just speculating here. Putt putt wasn’t too bad, except I think a lot of balls go over the side. There were not enough balls while we were playing and a kid came in and grabbed one of ours off the green and took off with it. There were lots of kids activities and they seemed to travel in packs. It was annoying at times for a big group of kids to rambunctiously trot through the bar area as a pack. We watched people win and lose in the Casino and blew a whole wad of $15 – we’re not much for gambling.
Elegant night – Mom wanted us all to dress up for Elegant night and said the guys had to have jackets. Well, only 2 of our 3 guys wore jackets and they were very much in the minority in the dining room. Leading up to the trip, my sister and mother bought “maxi” dresses and even bought some for me to try (which I declined once I saw what they were). I didn’t know what a maxi dress was and turns out it is a very casual long knit dress. So, mother wants the guys to wear shirts/ties/jackets, but a maxi dress is elegant enough for the ladies? I think not. I was the most dressed up person every night at our table wearing sheer/billowy white or black pants with a dressy or sexy top. It’s an outdated cruise event, so don’t worry about what to wear – just don’t wear shorts and you’ll probably be fine.
Photo Bombing – so, evidently the whole reason to cruise is to have your portrait made. They are set up everywhere, every night, so walk thru the ship at your own risk. Mom made us get a portrait made, but it is terrible. I’m on a boat in August – there won’t be a good hair day, no matter what.
Cheers program – worked fine for me. I hit the break-even point (5-6 drinks) each day except one when I felt sick and went to the room early. Made up for it the next day. Throwing the occasional or random $2-$3 tip on a receipt meant the bar staff thought we might be big tippers and they seemed more attentive.
Ports - if you're there to shop the straw markets, Freeport is actually closer walking distance to the boat than getting off at Nassau. There were only 2 cruise ships in port in Freeport, so it wasn't as crowded as Nassau where there were 5 or 6. I was not there to shop. I just walked around at Freeport and then ate at Señor Frogs. At Nassau, we walked to the Junkanoo beach in between storms and sat at the Bikini Tiki bar and had a good time meeting locals huddled around it in the pouring rain. My sister and her family went to Atlantis and said it wasn't very well organized. There was a lot of walking to get to the bus to get there and then a lot of walking from the bus to Atlantis and then once there, the water park didn't open until 10 and there was no snack/drink station open until 11am. They couldn't even get water, so be sure to carry a beverage if you choose to do this activity.
I didn't try the pool or hot tubs. The pool was overrun with children and very crowded. I think this subject has been covered a lot by other reviewers, so I won't go on about it. The serenity deck seemed like a good idea, just needs a pool.
Disembarkation was pretty easy on the last morning. Did the self-assist and it went quickly.
Overall, I don't plan to ever cruise again. I'm not sure what the attraction is. Stuck on a boat with that many people just doesn't work for me. If I want to do excursions in a foreign country, I will go to that country and get a hotel and go out and do my own thing. Less
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